Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the joint presidential candidate for Turkey’s two main opposition parties, has visited Anitkabir, where the Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is buried in Ankara. Ihsanoglu is reported to have placed a wreath of white and red carnations on Ataturk’s tomb and observed a moment of silence to mourn the secularist leader.
Turkey is scheduled to hold its first directly elected presidential race in August. The election will see Ihsanoglu run against Turkey’s current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to Al-Alam Online news website, Ihsanoglu, the candidate of Turkey’s two largest opposition parties – the Republican People’s Party and the Nationalist Action Party – wrote in the Anitkabir guest book: “Dear Ataturk, the founder of our Republic and the hero of our struggle for independence: Our Republic … will have an election that is the first of its kind. A president will be elected by the people. I declare that I seek to ascend to this sacred and noble post and to follow and develop the values of the republic.”
Ihsanoglu also placed a wreath on the tomb of the second president of the Turkish Republic, Ismet Inonu, amidst applause from visitors, who engaged in conversations with Ihsanoglu before he left Anitkabir along with his delegation.